Season five of Love Island is of course ending tonight, and for many of its devotees – who paid it much more attention than they ever have to any of their own summer romances – its sudden absence from TV schedules may well cause break-up-like symptoms.
Your one mate who bought a total of 12 bikinis from isawitfirst.com over the course of the series can't stop eating ice cream on the sofa and listening to "Fast Car". Another, who changed her Twitter name to "TOMMY AND MOLLY-MAE STAN", refuses to do her hair in any style other than a topknot. Break-ups, after all, do weird things to people. And breaking up from Love Island – the most intense and frequently draining summer fling there is – can be very hard to do.
But it's important that we remember the good times. That we are grateful for what we've learned (if he wants to get to know a model called Jourdan, "HE DOESN'T LOVE YA"), and that we cherish the happy memories from this crazy ride (every time a perfectly groomed woman pointed a perfectly acrylic-ed finger at a man while yelling blue murder).
So we're going to take stock the best way we know how: by ranking a mix of Islanders and humorous intra-villa concepts by order of their popularity both within the villa and among the public, with a bit of authorial bias thrown in! For the final time in 2019 (not withstanding a potential end of year Ranking, should the Islanders be interesting enough when they’re out of the villa), we Power Rank:
AMBER AND GREG
I am going to have to ask you to do something unpleasant. I need you to think back to the 2016 EU Referendum. Remember how sure you were that the UK was going to vote Remain because your stupid Twitter was full of people posting pictures of the EU flag? What I am saying is that we cannot let history repeat itself in the case of Love Island 2019.
My personal corner of the internet wants Amber and Greg to win Love Island, and so do I. Ovie is a legend, I know, but it is Amber who has had this year's most significant arc, who has visibly matured over the course of the process, who has, to be honest, more than earned her £25k. And it is Greg who helped her realise there is Life After Michael, and also who said, "What was your thought process behind that?" to Curtis. They deserve it, and if Twitter is anything to go on (they were the only couple whose names were a global trending topic after Sunday night's episode), they might well snatch the win from under the noses of favourites Tommy and Molly-Mae.
While there's nothing wrong with Tommy and Molly-Mae (they seem nice and genuinely into each other, and I wish them the very best in their future shared home with a living room entirely full of one of those enormous velvet corner sofas that is always gifted to influencers and looks like it feeds on other, smaller pieces of furniture), they’re the boring, obvious choice.
To vote for Tommy and Molly is to uphold the status-quo, and you’re better than that. So it’s up to you to have the difficult conversations with the Molly-Mae and Tommy fans in your bit at work. It’s up to you to text your dad, who has literally never watched the programme, telling him to download the app and vote for Amber and Greg. It’s up to you to be the change you want to see.
Everyone thought Molly-Mae had it sewn up, including Molly-Mae. Even if she doesn't win (of course, she very much still might), I hope she remembers that the real Love Island is the 2.3 million Instagram followers at the time of writing, and the literal hundreds of swimwear promo deals you get along the way. Brings a tear to the eye, really.
Parent Day in the Love Island villa is always an annual highlight (see: Danny Dyer going, "I'm gonna kill the geezer – where is he?" when he met his daughter's boyfriend via videolink last year), but nothing could prepare us for the embarrassment of riches that 2019 would bring:
i) MAURA’S MAMMY
Maura's mother on Curtis: "There must be something you see in him."
This woman drinks for free whenever I am around.
ii) BELLE’S DAD
Have you heard Belle's father’s voice? Please, daddy, read me a bedtime story.
iii) ANTON’S MUM
Anton's mum is a mum for the social media age: she knows that shaving her adult son’s arse has become a meme, and therefore she engaged with that meme by gifting his girlfriend a razor, like a baton passed between them. She has also – for no discernible reason whatsoever – recorded a rap. Presumably, if she continues on at this rate, she will become a regular panellist on Celebrity Juice, before landing the Christmas number one.
A criticism of Love Island is that the main plot of the show – which can sometimes be quite boring, as there are only so many times you can hear people asking other people where their heads are at before your own falls off – frequently takes up more time than the entertaining banter happening elsewhere in the villa. Like: do you know what I would give to see Ovie explaining to the boys why Training Day is the greatest film of all time, instead of another! fucking! getting dressed montage???
Anyway, as the amount of Islanders diminishes, they end up having to show the banter to pad out the hour of TV, which means we get the good shit, like Curtis teaching a baby dance class ("And ripple, 2,3,4") and Maura announcing that her mother is part of a group chat called "Fanny Flutters". Banter, as always, rises up.
Have you ever watched a bit of TV and felt fully hot? Like every part of you is on fire – you have to brace your hands against the bed, and you're a bit turned on?? That’s the exact feeling I had watching Anna in a fucking zebra print kaftan drop down to her knees and scream, "You know what you look like? You look like a piece of shit" about 4cm from Jordan’s face. There is no better way to argue than yelling and asking the person who has wronged you if they’re "that fucking idiot", and Anna perfected it. She may be gone now, but she will remain one of the most powerful forces to have ever touched the villa.
People disliked her because she was often very loud and very wrong, but she has one of the most powerful snogging techniques of the millennium, loves her friends like they're her sisters and will scream at the men who wrong them. Do you know what I would do for Anna to be the pharmacist I get the morning after pill from? Instead of asking whether you want the coil, she would probably tell you that your man’s pull-out game is weak and that you should leave him. I wish her nothing but the happiness she deserves, in the form of as many fake candid Instagram Stories of her looking over her shoulder and showing off her glorious arse while listening to Megan Thee Stallion as she can produce.
After two months, I will honestly pry my eyeball out with a plastic spoon if I am made to watch another yacht/helicopter/faceless harpist date.
THE VERY CONCEPT OF A HOST
Love Island is an incredibly slick show. Due to the omnipotent producers, every twist is carefully structured and curated, feeding the hungry audience with almost arousing levels of drama, because they literally make up the rules as they go along.
However, one flaw exists in the show and I’m absolutely not sorry to say it: Caroline Flack. No matter how hard the show tries to create some sort of "The Flack Is Back" lore around the host’s presence, I refuse to accept Flack’s purpose on the show. The reason for this is three-fold.
One: Caroline Flack is not a very good host. Her presenting style is awkward and clunky, and I feel actively nervous watching her slowly read the words, "The couple with the least votes…….will have to leave…...immediately."
Secondly, the continual infiltration of an outside presence really breaks the whole illusion of Love Island. Just like the moment a bit of confetti falls from the ceiling during a play and you think, 'Huh, look at that bit of confetti, I’m not in a plantation in Mississippi, I’m at the National Theatre,' Caroline Flack reminds us of the horrible, soul-crushing reality of the outside world.
Finally, season five has made us all more aware than ever of the host’s profound irrelevance, considering evictions can literally be done through text message – and have been, liberally. Don’t blame me, blame the inevitable rise of technology leading to the eradication of labour.
In Greek myth, Sisyphus is condemned to roll a rock up a hill. Whenever he gets near the top, the rock rolls back down and he has to try to push it back up again. Which is kind of like Anton’s Love Island character arc. He spent a month in the villa single (rock falling down), found Belle (pushing rock up), then they had that massive row where she screamed about being a respectable woman (rock down), then they made up (rock up), then they got voted out the day before the final (rock completely and absolutely off the hill). And people say Love Island is for idiots.
It was announced the other day that, in 2020, there’ll be two seasons of Love Island. That, to me, felt like a bit of a death knell. The whole reason Love Island survives is because it’s a special, yearly event, like Christmas or sunburn weather. Putting it on twice a year (meaning it’ll be on for a total of four months – a third of the year – altogether) will make the show less popular, because the only people who can be arsed to make that sort of commitment are married people who watch soaps.
On top of that, have commissioners considered that, with more ex-Islanders, there are going to be far too many people competing to go on Celebs Go Dating? There might even be a war.